THE A-Bound festival will bring its collaboration of interactive events and unorthodox events to Salford’s Islington Mill from March 23-27 – presented by Fat Out Til You Pass Out. Quays News entertainment reporter Dan Willis runs us through what we can expect…

The four-day festival will showcase a range of different talents from across the UK music and art industries, bringing together forward thinking promoters and artists supported by Arts Council England in their inaugural year.

Through a shared uncompromising vision from the festival promoters and performers, A-Bound Festival represents a collective determination to push the boundaries and to showcase artists and musicians alike who represent something different, and something new to their work.

Emma Thompson and Verity Gardner, founders of Fat Out Til You Pass Out have gone about making their mission to deliver ‘genre defying programmes’ and take the collaborative spirit of creating Fat Out to create a rowdy and intense five-day series in the aim of bringing future collaboration to all involved. And of course, a great Easter weekend.

Here’s a day-by-day rundown of what will be happening at the A-Bound Festival.

Wednesday, March 23

The first day of the festival will see Dutch Uncles, a band from Marple, Manchester bring their combination of indie-pop and use of atypical time signatures to Islington Mill. The band, who have previously performed at festivals such as Leeds and Reading Festival, Bestival and Latitude will be represented through the fluttering vocals of the band’s front man Duncan Wallis. Dutch Uncles were formed back in 2008, when the band members met in college.

Alongside this, Wednesday will play host to fellow Manchester act Bernard and Edith, a trip-hop twosome with tracks such as ‘Heartache’ showcase their powerful, but slightly disturbing sound they have to offer.

Wednesday’s show works in collaboration with Manchester’s New Wave record label, and will also showcase Noise Orchestra, a band who’s interactive set uses a combination of lights, turntables and analogue electronics to turn images and objects into noise.

Thursday, March 24

In collaboration with Cacophonous Sarcophagus of Bristol, day 2 of the festival will see Belgian-Italian duo Lumisokea take to the stage at the mill. The combination of both acoustic and analogue hardware sounds make for a rich combination, with a highly experimental, and introspective sound to it.

Alongside Lumisokea will be other artists such as Kink Gong, or better well known as Laurent Jeanneau. Jeanneau spent most of the 90’s recording the music of native endangered ethnic minorities of south-east Asia. He also released transformed and collaged versions of his original records into soundscapes through Discrepant Records.

Conor Thomas, a resident DJ from Manchester will also be performing – who has previously performed at Boiler Room events. WERK, another artist from Manchester will be performing. WERK originally began in 2014 and are a combination of drum-centric and improvisational in their music. You can expect a combination of vocal processing, live drum processing, analogue synths, sampling, guitars and feedback manipulation from WERK.

Other acts on the Thursday consist of – H.U.M and Bristol duo KURO.

Good Friday – Friday, March 25

The Good Friday show, working in collaboration with Optimo Music from Glasgow will showcase a six-hour DJ set from Optimo. Duo JD Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes began Optimo back in 1997 after both JD and Jonnie had been DJ’ing separately for over 10 years. Originally from Glasgow, the duo mix up a combination of electro, rock, techno and a range of different sounds to give their music a unique touch.

Alongside the six-hour Optimo set, fellow Glaswegian Sparky – a pioneer in GDM (Glaswegian Dance Music) is a local favourite in Glasgow, however his futuristic sound and tribute to classic house and techno make him an artist to look out for at A-Bound Festival.

Mr TC will also be performing on Good Friday, Mr TC is yet another Glaswegian who in November 2015 signed for the Optimo Music label and released a four track 12* called ‘Soundtrack for Strangers’ which showcases Mr TC’s combination of strange house and techno, leftfield disco, tropical party cuts and more.

Good Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26

Stretching across two days will be the A-Bound’s Optimo Breakfast High. This two day music and arts event will showcase a 28-hour bounce of events in collaboration with Islington Mill Pot Luck Film Night – an event which uses the year 2000 to reflect on the futuristic visions of the 1980’s, alongside an original screening of the animated film Transformers.

Tech Noir will also be at the breakfast event, providing a throwback to old games consoles with a host of early analogue games. Mother May I’s vegan kitchen will accompany the screenings providing breakfast options from 7am to 10am.

Saturday, March 26

In collaboration with High Hoops of London and Manchester, Saturday will see acts such as Antal Heitlager, who co-founded record label Rush Hour which is based in Amsterdam. Antal prefers not to put his music to any form of style, preferring to concede that his music is about diversity that feels raw and soulful.

Alongside Antal is German-born Damiano von Eckhert. Damiano, who’s father was also a DJ, has grown up accumulating ideas and knowledge of different sounds represents a growing breed of artists who isn’t held to the constraint of one genre of music. Music tastes include afro and disco, hip hop, funk and soul.

Ruf Dug, another hometown Manchester DJ will bring a combination of weirdness, 50p beats and analogue heat to the mix – followed up by Joy Social, who will play a fresh selection of oldies and new tunes and have been said to be ‘most at home in a dark basement’ under a red light.

Sunday, March 27

The final day of the festival is in collaboration with Oxford’s Supernormal record label and will see a wide range of artists take to the stage to give the A-Bound festival a great send off. This includes acts such as Consumer Electronics, touted under the ‘power electronic’ genre which he’s pioneered since the age of 14, all the way back in 1982. His music has been said to be ‘a purity of vision where the concept of offence and obnoxiousness is rejected as a social construct’.

Bas Jan, a fairly new project, will be performing alongside Consumer Electronics. Their debut single ‘Sat Nav’ gives the listener a glimpse of the direction the band are going in, from city-sensible pop to a shimmering forest stepped in multi-layered synths and guitar solos.

Amongst other musical performances will be Circuit Breaker – who have spent most of their career in the obscure depths of the music world, sourcing their sounds from electronics and working without a care in the world for anything, or any of their resembled peers.

FITH and Gum Takes Tooth will also be performing at A-Bound Festival, so keep a look out for them.

Sunday, March 27 – Art Screenings

The final day also plays host to several art screenings – these include Film Material, whose work shows a collective working of diverse approaches to moving image, film, video and photography. Also The Neighbours Are Bats present a live sound art piece where the viewer gets the chance to become a part of a colony of human-bat performers. Lastly, the Noise Orchestra present an interactive light and sound installation operating at the intersection of experimental art, music and technology. Fundamentally, the Noise Orchestra showcase an exploration of light, materials and sound.

Finally, and definitely an interest topic to finish on – ‘Sounds of Walls’ created by Helmut Lemke, will transform the Islington Mill’s entrance areas, gallery space and Burrow (music venue) to evaluate the unique part they play in the occasion, and how they connect with the artists, and how they connect with other members of the audience.

By Dan Willis

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